30. Edmonton Oilers (5-9-0) Last Week: 28
The Edmonton Oilers lost Connor McDavid due to a broken clavicle, which automatically makes them the losers of the past week’s NHL action. McDavid wasn’t doing everything on his own and carrying the team to victory, but the rookie phenom was playing at an incredibly high level; he had racked up 12 points in the 12 games he played before breaking his collarbone.
It will be interesting to see how the Oilers can perform without McDavid in the lineup, as while there’s no denying that the 18-year-old center has a significant positive effect on the team’s performance, there’s also still of high-end offensive talent in Edmonton in the form of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov.
Read of the week: Dmitri Filipovic of NHLNumbers.com looks into the case of Taylor Hall, a player who sometimes doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his high level of play.
29. Toronto Maple Leafs (2-8-3) Last Week: 27
Through the early stages of the 2015-2016 NHL season, the Toronto Maple Leafs were a hockey team that had a bad record, but good possession metrics. They ranked in the upper half of the league, and though they had trouble winning hockey games, they at least looked like a solid NHL team.
Those possession numbers have taken a nose dive, and the Leafs now have a possession rating below 50-percent. Combine that with one of the worst records in the league, and the Maple Leafs take the lead in the Auston Matthews sweepstakes.
Read of the week: Chris Wassel writes that Joffrey Lupul has been solid for the Maple Leafs in 2015-2016.
28. Calgary Flames (4-9-1) Last Week: 29
The Calgary Flames actually had a decent week, going 2-1 with victories over the Edmonton Oiler and Philadelphia Flyers, and a loss against the Colorado Avalanche. T.J. Brodie has looked good in his return, picking up three points in the five games that he’s played.
That being said, wins against the Oilers and Flyers aren’t exactly impressive, and the loss to the Avalanche is rather disappointing. The Flames continue to be one of the league’s worst possession teams, so expect them to stay near the bottom of the league standings for the foreseeable future.
Read of the week: Anthony Perez writes that now is not the time for a coaching change in Calgary.
27. Colorado Avalanche (4-9-1) Last Week: 30
The Colorado Avalanche continue to be a comically bad possession team. As we noted last week, only three teams since the 2005-2006 season have finished with a score adjusted shot attempts percentage below 42.0-percent, and the Avs currently stand at 42.4-percent.
This is a team that actually has talented forwards, and a solid net minder. There are plenty of holes on the blueline behind Tyson Barrie, but overall, the roster is likely more than capable of playing better than the level they’re currently showcasing. At some point, the onus to succeed has to fall on the coach. It will be interesting to see what Patrick Roy’s future is, especially if the Avalanche finish the season near the bottom of the league.
Read of the week: A.J Haefele of BSNDenver.com chatted with Mikhael Grigorenko, who is starting to find confidence in his game after coming over in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres.
26. Columbus Blue Jackets (4-11-0) Last Week: 26
The Columbus Blue Jackets currently have the worst record in the NHL, and the 24th lowest possession rating. They are not a good hockey team, and though they’ve been massively unlucky, they were never really going to challenge for one of the playoff spots in the Metro.
After the Brandon Saad trade, plenty of pundits penciled the Jackets into the playoffs, and though Saad is good, one new forward does not mean a team is going to be able to make the postseason. It will be interesting to see how Columbus finishes out the season; if they don’t improve by the halfway mark, do they start trading players and tanking? Or does management let the roster stay the same, and the season finish as a major disappointment?
Read of the week: Rick Gethin keeps everyone up to date with his most recent look at Columbus’ performance.